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After Buffalo, Media and Tech Can’t Look Away Any Longer

This tragedy should be a catalyst to a fundamental reckoning.
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WASHINGTON — According to media reports on Thursday, Facebook will announce the end of its controversial policy that has long protected politicians from many of the content-moderation rules that it applies to other users.

Facebook will reportedly announce the rule change on Friday. The shift comes in response to the Facebook Oversight Board’s recommendations in its May decision to uphold the suspension of former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Carmen Scurato made the following statement:

“Facebook took far too long to do what was right and obvious to everyone. The company had long staked its rules regarding politicians to a wrong-headed notion of free expression, which privileged the speech rights of the powerful over those of everyone else.

“Years ago, Free Press and our allies joined with many Facebook employees to protest Zuckerberg's backward approach to free speech. Had he heard our many concerns then, we could have avoided serious harms caused by the hateful, dangerous and dishonest posts of many abusive politicians. Zuckerberg buckled to political pressure then and repeatedly failed to protect his users. No one should applaud him for fixing his mistakes this late in the game.

“As always, it will be crucial to see how Facebook plans to enforce this latest policy change. The company frequently applies its rules only when it’s politically or financially convenient to do so, or it creates loopholes that will allow Facebook to do whatever Facebook wants. Free Press will continue to monitor Facebook’s actions closely to determine whether it takes its own policies seriously.”

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